One of the great misconceptions about becoming a real estate investor is thinking about how one needs to sit there, and the money will somehow come. Real estate entrepreneur, Danielle Pierce, is someone familiar with this story. Picking herself up from that, she eventually found the ultimate niche that led her to the success she is now, tax lien investing. Danielle enlightens us about her path towards tax lien investing and foreclosures, sharing her experience that may make you reconsider doing it as well. She then lets us in on her biggest mistakes and proud moments and gives some great advice to women who are starting out in this field.
Listen to the podcast here:
Finding Real Estate Success In Tax-Lien Investing With Danielle Pierce
I am excited to have with us Danielle Pierce who is a total badass. She is also helping women around the country doing real estate. She’s definitely a sister of my soul in sharing that mission. She’s a full-time real estate entrepreneur with over a decade of trial and error, like butts in the seat experience. She’s committed to helping individuals succeed in the real estate industry without having to rely exclusively on sales. She believes that documentation beats conversion and she offers result-driven programs that have created a thriving community of raving fans. She’s a mom of three geniuses, a house head, a proud blurred and all-around fabulous. You can find her at DaniellePierce.com. I’m excited that you’re here. Welcome, Danielle.
Thank you for inviting me on the show. I’m super excited to be here.
Tell me, how did you get started in real estate investing?
It was a long circuitous journey. My background is corporate accounting. I went to school. I have an accounting degree. I knew that I was going to climb the corporate ladder and become a partner. That was my initial life’s goal. I got into corporate and I was like, “This is not going to be my life.” I wasn’t a fan of it. I ended up being laid off. I found a mentor fairly early on and he helped me submit that decision to become a real estate investor. I didn’t listen to a lot of what he said early on because I wasn’t ready. I thought the whole entrepreneur, real estate investor thing was about chilling and kicking it and somehow I’ll make money, but I wasn’t quite sure where it would come from. It took me a while to do the stuff that he talked about, but he did. That’s where the seed was planted. From there, I tried a bunch of different avenues within real estate, but I ultimately focused on tax-lien investing and working with foreclosed properties.
What was the first thing you did?
I got my license. I’m a managing broker. I’ve been licensed since 2006. I got my real estate license and I was helping people buy and sell properties sporadically because I’m from Chicago. It was cold and there was a lot going on. That’s what I tried to do, then I was doing short sales, loan modifications and rentals for a while. I did a bunch of different things in real estate.
A lot of people ask me, “Do you need to be a realtor, broker, a real estate investor?” I am not, so I tell them no. What do you think? Being a realtor, has it helped you?You pick up the knowledge when you desire it. Click To Tweet
It hasn’t helped in probably any capacity. It’s not a requirement at all. The misconception is that people think they’re getting a real estate license and it will somehow teach you about real estate investing. There’s nothing that could be farther from the truth. Getting a license just allows you to represent buyers and sellers and not be sued for it. Outside of that, you don’t learn investing. You don’t learn tax liens. You don’t even learn how to do a comparative market analysis when getting your real estate license. It’s the craziest thing. All that stuff is picked up after the fact and only for people who desire to get that knowledge.
That’s what I tell people, but I always love to check with brokers because many people have come to me and they go, “I want to get into investing, but first I’m going to get my license.” I’m like, “Why?”
I don’t know how that happened, but it doesn’t go together at all. It’s a world apart.
They both have to do with real estate but it’s different aspects of it. You say you’ve landed mostly on doing tax liens and foreclosures. What do you like about those areas?
I’ve learned about tax lien investing many years ago because I’ve always been in real estate. I dismissed it at the time and I was like, “There must be more to it. That’s a scam. That’s not real.” I ignored it. What I like about it now though is that you can acquire properties very cheaply, depending upon the area that you’re investing in. I know that you’re on the West Coast. You can still get discounts at the tax deed sales and the tax lien sales that are out there, but the price points are very different than the Midwest or the South, for example. I do like that aspect of getting the properties cheaply. I like the idea of being able to get properties without having to go through traditional bank financing. I think that especially in our community, that’s a big plus because a lot of us are not able to move forward because of either credit or not being able to show consistent income or both of them. I remember seeing that issue a lot when I first got my license and they would say, “Start with your family.” They are not in a position to buy, so what else have you got? Being able to get properties cheaply is why I’m a big fan of tax lien investing.
For those reading out there who are not quite sure what exactly is tax lien investing, do you want to tell them?
Tax lien investing or you’ll also hear the phrase “tax deed investing” is essentially buying properties that are delinquent in property taxes and you’re going to an auction to purchase them. Some auctions are live where you have to physically be there in person, then some are online where you could be anywhere in the world with your Wi-Fi connection and bidding on properties from the comfort of your computer. That’s what it involves. You’re buying properties that are delinquent on taxes. With the tax lien certificates though, you’re not the owner immediately. There’s a redemption period or time frame where the owner can come back and pay all the money that they owe. For tax deed properties, that will be depending upon the state. You don’t have that redemption period. You own the property or the land outright. Some people prefer deeds over liens.
It sounds like you’re doing this to get the actual property as opposed to having your money generating income through liens.
I want the property, but you did bring up another point. People do invest in tax lien certificates with the express goal of earning anywhere, I think the highest is about 25% a year and that is Texas, Georgia. Illinois is 18%. New Jersey is 18% and you can’t get those returns anywhere.
I have some tax liens in Florida but for me, it’s about getting my money working. I didn’t want the property. Those are the different ways of doing it and with the foreclosure too. Tell us a little bit about how you fell into that.
I fell into that niche accidentally. My initial goal was to list the foreclosed and REO properties, the terms are interchangeable. My initial goal was to list those properties. I wanted to be a listing broker and probably it’s still this way around the country too. It’s a very tight network. Typically, the same brokers get all the foreclosed property listings year after year. In Chicago, there were about three and they would have 400, 500, 600 listings. I was like, “I want to do that,” but I couldn’t get in there. It wasn’t that I was trying to get in there for free or trying to like, “Could you please mentor me and tell me everything you know in exchange for nothing?” I couldn’t make any headway.
People would say things like, “You’ve got to figure it out,” or “I don’t know what to tell you.” I couldn’t make progress that way. When I found out about the other side of it like who’s managing the properties? Who’s doing the repairs and maintenance? Who’s taking care of getting all the stuff that people leave behind in the properties? I said, “I can do that.” That was a much better fit for me because it was less client interaction and more control. I’m a bit of a control freak so I liked that aspect of it. That’s why I stay in that industry. It allows me to operate the way that I would prefer to and still make the money that I want to make.
Those are great lower money down strategies. With both of those, you can get those types of properties for quite a bit less than if they were on the market. For anybody out there going, “How do I get into this? I cannot necessarily afford the things I’m seeing on the MLS,” those are two awesome strategies. You’ve been in this business for many years. Over the years, you’re in it for a while, you maybe had a mistake or two. They’re all the things that have not quite worked out as well as you’d planned. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
There were many. Is it in terms of the real estate industry or life in general?Stay in an industry that allows you to operate the way that you prefer and still make the money that you want to make. Click To Tweet
Your biggest mistake in real estate investing?
It’s not doing tax lien investing many years ago when I first heard about it. That comes top of mind. I still think about it every now and then. I think of all the properties I could have bought and sold or still own over the course of the last decade-plus. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, so they say. I for sure wasn’t ready back then. That’s the biggest mistake that comes to mind.
A lot of people say that too. They wonder, “If only I started earlier.” It’s like a tree. When was the best time to plant the tree, twenty years ago? When’s the next best time? It’s now. For those of you out there going, “Can I get started?” Yes, you should. Don’t wait. What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of having the courage to leave my “good-paying job” in corporate while I was still relatively young and then to branch out and become an entrepreneur. Granted, I did try to go back into corporate. Let me be clear about that. I did try to go back because I was like, “This is not working out and clearly, I need to get more money and I don’t know what I’m doing here.” I wasn’t able to get a job for the first time. I’m most proud of having the courage to do that because many of us know what we need to do. It could be business, personal, marriage or relationship, but we don’t do it because we don’t have the courage to make those moves. Sometimes life requires massive action in order to get to certain levels and it’s very uncomfortable. When people say they don’t want to do it, I get it because it’s very uncomfortable and quite irritating, but I’m proud that I was able to do it.
Getting out of your comfort zone, it will require that. That’s by definition uncomfortable. I don’t know if you were like me because I have a similar story. I started in corporate law and I was also very miserable and looking down the path towards partnership and going, “This is a pie-eating contest and the prize is more pie, and the pie is frankly full of poopoo. I don’t want to eat this pie anymore.”
How long did you work in the corporate?
It was ten long years. There comes a point in which it’s like that Anaïs Nin quote, where the risk to blossom is less painful than the pain to stay a bud. It’s too painful to stay where you are. Hopefully, people can make that move before it gets to that point. I was at that point. It was painful and I was like, “I’ve got to get out of here.” If you can get into this game and start doing these passive income streams, it paved the way. It’s a lot easier. To what do you attribute your success?
The answer to that is it has changed over the years. There are always shifts in life, especially as an entrepreneur. A shift that I had a few years ago was that I need to get out of my one-woman silo. I need to stop trying to control everything, stop trying to be a master at everything and start trusting other people, especially other women to work in different capacities. That is the only way that I’m going to get to the levels that I want to get to. These are facts. I might have known it a long time ago, but I wasn’t ready to do it. I got to a point where it was more painful to stay as opposed to trusting other people. It’s like if I want to get here, I have to start working with other people. I did that and it’s been great. I was like, “Why wasn’t I doing this the whole time?” It’s different opportunities, different exposure, different level of resources, different levels of knowledge. People know a lot more things than I do. It’s like, “That’s cool that you know that and I don’t,” as opposed to it being a competition. We can make something else happen that’s even better. I’m pretty happy about that.
I’m surprised you were able to go so long without doing that. Real estate is such a team sport. It’s hard to do much when you’re lone rangering. What advice do you have for a woman who’s starting out in this field?
A lot of women I find more so than the men that I interact with, women often will feel like they need a mentor to get started. They’ll say things like, “I need a mentor. Can you mentor me? I need somebody to show me the ropes.” There’s nothing wrong with mentorship but mentors show up when you’re ready. A great mentor can be very uncomfortable and a lot of us aren’t necessarily ready for that experience. My first mentor was a brilliant guy, but it was definitely not the most pleasant interaction. It’s not the most pleasant experience in his delivery and the way he spoke. I was like, “I didn’t know it was going to be like this.”
I don’t necessarily think that you need a mentor to get started. I do think that you need a specific pathway. I don’t like to see women or men either float from commercial to rentals, to wholesaling, to tax liens, to all the other bright shiny objects that you see pop up in your timeline when you’re on social media. I like people to sit back and think about, what’s my personality? How much time can I devote to this? How much money do I have to get started? Pick the path that most closely aligns with that versus trying to do what everybody else is doing, then stay on that path. Don’t leave it when it gets hard because it will get hard. You’ve got to be laser focus to be successful.
It is helpful to focus on just one thing. I know I like shiny objects in real estate. I like how I set up my life in this way. I get to talk to all of the different people. I do all types of fun things and get to teach it, but all sorts of different things. I get to indulge in my shiny objects, but I don’t recommend investing that way either. What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
I wish I know that it doesn’t have to be a hard road all the time. Going about things the right way, creating plans, setting initial goals and being honest with yourself in your self-assessment can shorten your learning curve by years. It doesn’t have to be this, “I’ve been doing this for fifteen years or five years and I haven’t been successful.” There are ways to shortcut that and make life a little bit easier. It will still be challenging but it can be significantly easier as opposed to what I did trying to wing it and figuring it out along the way. I wish I had known that I didn’t have to do that.
Before we get to our famed end of show trinity, which is our brag, gratitude and desire, what is the best way for people to connect with you?Sometimes, life requires massive action in order to get to certain levels. Click To Tweet
The best way for people to connect with me is going to be either my YouTube community, which is under Danielle Pierce or my Facebook group, which is Women, Wealth & Real Estate. Either of those two would be ideal.
It’s time for our trinity. What’s your one brag?
My brag is I am receiving an award from the National Association of Female Executives as a rising star. I’m excited about that. That’s pretty dope.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for?
I’m grateful that I get to spend time with my children as I want to, as opposed to only the time that I’m able to fit in due to having a stressful job or having to be somewhere or have a lot of restrictions on my time from a third party. I’m very happy about that.
Last but not least, what’s your one desire?
People don’t often ask me questions like that. I was talking to my financial planner and she was saying, “What’s your big goal?” I was like, “What do you mean?” I would love to own a 100-unit apartment building. That’s my three-year goal. That’s top of mind right now.
That’s your desire, higher units, so shall it be or so much better than you can imagine. Thank you, Danielle. This was awesome. Thanks so much for coming on and all can see her awesome videos on YouTube. Check it out Danielle Pierce or Women, Wealth & Real Estate. You can find me at REIGoddesses.com. Get connected with our community on Facebook and join our investor club to find out about all these cool passive investing opportunities. Join us next time for another amazing Real Estate Investor Goddess interview. Subscribe, comment, send us love and I’ll talk to you next time.
- Danielle Pierce – YouTube channel
- Women, Wealth & Real Estate on Facebook
- Facebook– Real Estate Investor Goddesses (Private Community)
About Danielle Pierce
Danielle is a full-time real estate entrepreneur with over a decade of trial and error. She’s committed to helping individuals succeed in the real estate industry without having to rely exclusively on sales.
Danielle believes that documentation beats conversation and she offers results-driven programs which has created a thriving community of raving fans. She is the mom of 3 geniuses, a househead, a proud BLERD and just all-around fabulous. Find out more at daniellepierce.com